Portrait in Sepia: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, 2002 - Fiction - 320 pages
28 Reviews
Isabel Allende's sensuous novel about
the mystery of memory

In nineteenth-century Chile, Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that erases all recollections of the first five years of her life. Raised by her regal and ambitious grandmother Paulina del Valle, Aurora grows up in a privileged environment, but is tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she explores the mystery of her past.

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User Review  - mrsdanaalbasha - LibraryThing

When I was young, I read this book in it's translated form from latin to arabic and it was a mess. I felt like Isabel Allende was very aggressive in her terms, very sexual and not quite as poetic as I hoped. The story was okay but very disappointing. I guess I'm not a fan of latin literature. Read full review

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User Review  - flydodofly - LibraryThing

I am afraid I could not make myself read past the first, say, 50 pages, as I was not interested in the least what would happen next, and I did not like the writing much, or, rather it was unexceptional. So, on the overall, the book just did not work for me. Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Isabel Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. When her parents separated, young Isabel moved with her mother to Chile, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She married at the age of 19 and had two children, Paula and Nicolas. Her uncle was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. When he was overthrown in the coup of 1973, she fled Chile, moving to Caracas, Venezuela. While living in Venezuela, Allende began writing her novels, many of them exploring the close family bonds between women. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, has been translated into 27 languages, and was later made into a film. She then wrote Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, all set in Latin America. The Infinite Plan was her first novel to take place in the United States. In Paula, Allende wrote her memoirs in connection with her daughter's illness and death. She delved into the erotic connections between food and love in Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses. In addition to writing books, Allende has worked as a TV interviewer, magazine writer, school administrator, and a secretary at a U.N. office in Chile. She received the 1996 Harold Washington Literacy Award. She lives in California. Her title Maya's Notebook made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013.

Margaret Sayers Peden received a bachelor's degree in 1948, a master's degree in 1963, and doctorate degree in 1966 from the University of Missouri. She was a professor of Spanish at the University of Missouri until her retirement in 1989. She is a translator. Emilio Carballido's The Norther (El Norte) became her first published translation in 1970. She has translated 65 books including works by Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, Claribel Alegrķa, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, and Cesar Vallejo. She has received several awards including the 2010 Lewis Galantiere Translation Prize for her translation of Fernando de Rojas' La Celestina and the 2012 Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, which is awarded in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the field of literary translation.

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